Monday, February 21, 2022

Reviewing Open Shelving in the Kitchen with a Focus on Plate Racks

I love open shelving in the kitchen. And not because it seems to be a recent popular trend. I don't know how I developed this preference but I did. Now that I'm in my new home I made sure to stress to the builder that I did not want the typical kitchen wall cabinets with doors. I did not have a solid plan for the layout with the exception a plate rack. I HAD to have a wall-mounted, wooden plate rack. I repeated that so many times that I'm sure people around me grew tired of hearing me say it. My kitchen is still a work in progress but I've got my plate rack!

my beautiful and functional hanging plate rack


Wall Mounted Wooden Plate Racks

There probably isn't much that I dislike more than lifting plates in and out of a cupboard with a door. Stacking and unstacking them. My stoneware plates are heavy and the rub against each other as I move them. And how frustrating if the plate I want is one of the larger plates at the bottom of the stack! I have always had assorted plates so maybe typical families don't experience having to unstack half of the plates in order to get the desired one out of the cupboard. But it is my pet peeve and happened to me frequently.

My wonderful wooden plate rack solves that issues. The plates stand upright, separated from each other by wooden dowels. No stoneware clunking against stoneware. And no digging in a pile to get a big plate. 

While my plate rack is not designed to hold small saucers, my saucers do indeed fit into the rack. 

I purchased my wall mounted plate rack from a woodwork shop on Etsy. If you are looking for plate racks I highly recommend checking there first (unless you personally know a talented wood worker). 

The holliwalt shop made my custom plate rack. 

my handmade plate rack by holliwalt on Etsy


Because it was custom, it took almost a month to receive it. It arrived unstained, as advertised, and I put a coat of clear stain on it to protect it but also allowed the natural wood grain to show. 

If you are looking for a plate rack and the holliwalt shop doesn't have what you want they do take custom orders.  Or entering "plate rack wall mounted"  in the Etsy search bar gives many results and a large variety to choose from.

Such as this beauty from 1766Co.

made by 1766Co

I think it is clear that I prefer minimal or no crown molding. But if molding is your preference, there are several styles between these two Etsy shops that have crown molding. And if you notice in the holliwalt shop, there is one shelf that includes wine cubbies. I was very tempted to order that one instead of the one I chose.

Open Shelves in Kitchens 

We may or may not remember that periodically many kitchens throughout history have had open shelving. A quick search of the internet shows that the open kitchen shelves design is not a flash-in-the-pan fad. 

Here we have a photo depicting a kitchen in 18th century Sweden

photo courtesy of CC By-SA 3.0



Here is a photo of a historic farm house built in 1889 in Montana, US. This is reportedly the kitchen in the Tinsley Living Farm - Museum of the Rockies.

photo courtesy of SA-2.0 Generic


And an example of open shelving in a 1948 issue of Ladies' Home Journal. 

photo courtesy of Flickrs The Commons

In my opinion, open shelves are beautiful and functional. While the "clutter" of your items are visible, I always feel as though a kitchen with open shelves appears more spacious. There are fewer upper cabinets blocking light and views. Yes, the items on open shelves are not protected from gathering dust. That is perhaps the one and only down-side of open shelves in my opinion. But the ease of being able to see what you have at a glance makes up for that. I also feel as though open shelves in kitchens versus full upper cabinets save resources. There are no door, hinges, or handles that have to be made and someday refinished or replaced. 

When my kitchen is finished (or closer to finished) perhaps I'll share an update of my shelves. I love having large jars of my pasta, dried beans, tea, flour, sugar and similar items visible. I do not have to move from the counter while working to reach those items which is extremely convenient. And, more importantly, I think those items are pretty to look at. For example, seeing my mullein tea leaves in a jar on that shelf is pleasing. 

Open shelves in kitchens are not for everyone. For sure. But they make me very happy. Especially that wonderful wooden plate rack that hangs just above my sink and keeps my plates from clanking against each other as I put them away.




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7 comments:

  1. Your custom open plate rack is gorgeous, Dawn Rae, and, in addition to being your preference, seems to be perfect for your new minimalistic life style. Keeping things simple, as well as within easy reach, would also be ideal for me. Well done on your choice.

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  2. Dawn, oh WOW - I love the your handmade plate rack! It is outstanding - I agree that open shelves can open up the appearance of space in the kitchen - another thing that is outstanding in a kitchen is a counter to ceiling window, that's wide (especially if there is a view) - I wish I had a space for the open cupboard rack you're featuring here, I absolutely love it.

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  3. I think I would enjoy a combination of open in addition to my regular cabinets. I can certainly see the value in not have varying size of plates stacked (like I have now) I had never really considered that before. I grew up with cabinets, have always had cabinets, and really never paid attention to the open shelving idea, but you have brought it to my attention now and I can certainly see the benefits.

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  4. I love the look of your beautiful open plate rack! It’s fantastic that you were able to have one custom built for you. I checked out the holliwalt Etsy shop and their customers are unanimous in their praise of the workmanship.

    The kitchen in our old house has practically wall-to-wall built-in wood cabinetry, and the rest is a very wide counter-to-ceiling window, so there is no wall space to speak of, so this wouldn’t be an option for us. (I know there are plate racks designed to span a kitchen window, but not one as wide as ours.) But at least I can enjoy yours vicariously while I fantasize about being able to afford a kitchen remodel! 😊

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  5. wow! love the plate rack and checked out the etsy store too - very cool!

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  6. Your custom plate rack is beautiful, excellent craftsmanship. It certainty is a pain when you have different size dishes in a stack. Here is another problem for me, since it's just Fran and myself most of the time, we only use the top two dishes. so, I find myself rotating the dishes so we're not using the same ones all of the time.

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  7. I love what you are doing in your kitchen. It's so homey, comfortable and has so many special touches to make it your own. I love the open plate rack. It gives a nice ambience to the kitchen and makes it really your own! Your plates are really nice up there too! I love it!

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